How to Be an Environmentally Friendly Student

Trying to lessen your impact on our environment doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here’s three ways to be environmentally friendly as a student. 

1. Buy secondhand.

When you move into housing on campus, there are so many different household items that you need! Whether it is sheets to fit your dorm bed, plates and cups, or simply decorations to personalize your room, it can add up quickly. You can find many of these household items at thrift stores all around for a cheaper price than at retail stores. This can help you save not only money but can also help you reduce your environmental impact. 

2. Reduce single-use consumption.

Many items we use in our everyday life can easily be swapped out for reusable items. Instead of purchasing plastic water bottles to keep you hydrated, swap it out for a Brita pitcher and a reusable water bottle. Instead of using saran wrap to keep your leftovers fresh, consider purchasing beeswax wraps. Switch out your paper coffee filters for a reusable one. There are even reusable K-Cups for Keurig machines! Although these options can be a little more costly upfront, it can save you more money in the long run, in addition to creating less waste. 

3. Utilize ebooks and digital notetaking.

Another simple switch to make as a student to decrease your environmental impact is regarding notetaking and books! When possible, obtain your textbooks in a digital format. If you prefer a physical textbook, consider purchasing a used textbook to use what has already been produced, rather than purchasing something that needs to be produced. You might end up saving some money this way too! When it comes to notetaking, digital notes have become more popular than physical notes. This is a great way to reduce paper waste! Instead of purchasing a new notebook for every class each semester, consider typing out your notes or using an alternative device like an iPad or reusable notebook like a Rocketbook. 

There are so many ways to be more environmentally friendly as a student that can save you money in the long run and allow you to reduce your consumption and excessive waste!


Class of 2024
I’m a social work major with a passion for people and the betterment of society. Listening to my friends share their experiences sparked my love for the University of Illinois, so I can’t wait to share my own with prospective and incoming students!

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